Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Mapmaker's Sons by V.L. Burgess

You may have heard me talking occasionally about the new publishing company I was getting the chance to help start by reading manuscripts to help pick which ones to publish.  The company is called Move Books.  And they have a goal to help get more boys reading.  Now I know that there are some of my favorite authors who don't agree that there aren't good books out there for boys, (I won't mention names), and while I do agree, there are tons of awesome books!  I do see in my classroom that there are less boys out there reading.  And it isn't just that there may not be good books, it is just getting them to the boys.  I am excited to be a part of this process to help get more books out there for these boys, as well as sharing my experience and what I know about boys from teaching to help.  So, the first book they are publishing is called The Mapmaker's Son by V.L. Burgess.  It is coming out this October, but in order to start getting the publicity rolling, they've asked reviewers to go ahead and review, so here is mine!

The main character is a boy named Thomas Hawkins.  He is in a private school, an orphan, and he seems to have this need to get out and explore the school grounds, even when it's past curfew.  And not just the grounds, but the rooftops!!  It is one night when he is out with his friends, planning a bit of a prank, to silence the bells of The Lost Preparatory Academy, which ring all the time, to send students here and there, that he gets the surprise of his life.  Real pirates, who seem to be out to get him!  A man with a peg leg turns up just in time to save him, and it seems this man knows about his past.  And has come to take him back to the land from which he came.  Where his father was a mapmaker, and he has a brother!  This land is like a time in the past, with horses and swords, and not at all like the present day world that Thomas comes from.  And in this land he finds that there is a prophecy which he must work with his brother to solve, in order to save the land from an evil ruler.

The book has adventure, and a good look into how boys might act.  It also is a quick read, no parts where you are turning the pages, wondering why you must read through all this strategy/background.  The revelations that are needed to get the story going, are told at appropriate times and in a way that keeps the story going.  Middle grade boys will enjoy this, yes there is fantasy, but not to an extent that will scare away boys who don't like that, but enough to draw boys who do like fantasy in.  I will be handselling it in my store, and recommending it to the boys in my school!